NUSD Spotlight
Community Newsletter
 -- Jan. 16,  2018  

Hope you enjoy this edition of "NUSD Spotlight," the district's community newsletter. Contact Director of Communications Jim Sanders, 561-5267, if you have comments, concerns or story suggestions. Thank you for your support of Natomas schools.
Students attend college while in high school  
CECA leader Jacquie Freitas, right, with students Kadence, Maddie and Haley.
(One in a series of stories looking at NUSD college and career preparation, starting in early grades.)

Maddie is on track to graduate from Inderkum High School in May with nearly a full year of college credits earned.

She and dozens of classmates in the California Early College Academy (CECA) are not just preparing for college - they're attending it.

CECA is a partnership between Natomas Unified and the Los Rios Community College District in which participating Inderkum juniors and seniors can split their time between Inderkum High and an adjoining American River College satellite campus. They can take up to 10 classes over a two-year period, earning nearly 30 transferable college credits, with NUSD paying for tuition and books.

Maddie says that skills she's learned along the way - discipline, organization, responsibility - will be invaluable in years to come. "This is serious, this is college, you need to be focused and really pay attention to what you're doing in class," she said.

Maddie wants to major in both education and theater arts in college, preparing for potential careers as a teacher or actor.

The four-year CECA program prepares high school students for college as freshmen and sophomores, then paves the way for upper classmen who pass an American River College placement test to enroll in up to two college classes per semester, plus one summer class each year.

CECA is designed to attract students who leave middle school with a solid academic track record and a determination to earn a college degree. Consideration also is given to providing opportunities for teenage students from underserved populations and to families in poverty or who have no history of graduating from college.  Read more here.
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Latest NUSD facility improvements
Heron starts 2018 with new classrooms & labs
Getting the new year off to a great start ...

When classes resumed from Winter Recess, Heron School's 7th- and 8th-graders began learning in six new classrooms, two new science labs, and a new video production studio.

The multimillion-dollar project also included restroom facilities and an outdoor learning space.

"It's really exciting because of our STEAM focus," Principal Amy Whitten said, referring to the project's impact on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics. "These new learning spaces provide even more opportunities for kids to engage in science and technology."

Heron's is the latest in a series of NUSD projects the past three years to enhance facilities district-wide, consistent with our goal of college and career readiness. Read more here.
Nighthawk Jadon Johnson:
Student, leader & athlete 
Trivia Quiz:
Nighthawk Jadon Johnson stands out as a Natomas High School role model because the 17-year-old senior is:

A)   An honor roll student taking three Advanced Placement (AP) classes this year
B)   NUSD's student representative on the Board of Trustees
C)   A member of Natomas High's Link Crew, consisting of upper classmen providing mentoring and support to freshmen students
D)   A football star who won all-league honors, was selected as an honorable mention to the Sacramento Bee's All-Metro team, and was chosen to play in the Optimist High School All-Star Game later this month
E)    All of the above

If you chose "E," step to the front of the class and take a bow.

Jadon was among a select group of students chosen recently by Natomas High School as reflecting the District's Board-approved Vision of college and career preparedness, responsibility, productivity, and engagement.

"Jadon is the kind of student-athlete you want in your classroom, you want on your team, and you want as a leader to others," said Don DeRosa, Nighthawk football coach.

His "incredibly positive attitude" is respected by peers, DeRosa said. "He is the guy that players seek out for help and tutelage ... He makes others want to be better." Read more here.
Near doubling of lunches served 
in Winter Recess feeding program

In its second year of offering Winter Recess lunches, NUSD nearly doubled the number of free meals served -- from 533 to 942 -- during the recent two-week holiday period.

The program is meant to ensure that no child has to go hungry while schools are closed.

Meals were provided daily from  Dec. 26 through Jan. 5 -- except New Year's Day -- at American Lakes, Jefferson, Natomas Park and Witter Ranch schools. Entrees included turkey sandwiches, sun butter-and-jelly sandwiches and yogurt parfaits.  Anyone 18 years or younger was eligible to participate.
NUSD featured in national magazine
for innovative plan to recruit
diverse bilingual & other teachers   
Natomas Unified is featured in a national magazine this month for its innovative program to recruit diverse future teachers, including applicants for bilingual and hard-to-fill positions. Financial incentives will be provided to help exemplary college graduates and NUSD non-instructional staff earn their teaching credential.

In return, participants will commit to serve NUSD for at least three years to meet the diverse needs of our student population.

Click here to read what Supt. Chris Evans told a national education publication, District Administration, about this promising new program.

Additional information is available from NUSD's website by clicking here
Inderkum IB program information night  
I s your child interested in becoming an International Baccalaureate (IB) scholar?
An information night is scheduled from 6-7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 24, in NUSD's Staff Development Center at 1931 Arena Blvd. (Directly behind the district's Ed Center.) Child care is available for pre-registered families. Spanish translation will be available, and other languages upon request.

Participants will receive an overview of Inderkum's IB Diploma Programme, application deadlines, and the role of TK-8 content and skills. They also will have the chance to ask questions and talk with staff, parents and scholars involved in Inderkum's IB program.

International Baccalaureate (IB) is a world-class academic program honored by top universities. Its Diploma Programme, or DP, is a two-year course of study that requires passing advanced classes, completing in-depth research -- designed to prepare students for college-level research -- and participating in projects involving creativity, action and service. For an event flyer, click here.
American Lakes School
Learning what it's like  to be wheelchair-bound
You've heard the old adage about not judging someone until you walk in their shoes - but what if that's impossible? What if they can't walk?
Players from the Sacramento Royals, a local wheelchair basketball team, visited American Lakes School last week to help 5th- and 6th-graders better understand people with disabilities and what it's like to be wheelchair-bound.
"Even if you have a disability, you're still very capable," Principal Ann Veu said when asked what message was sent. 
Able-bodied students learned to maneuver wheelchairs and played two-wheel "tag" with their visitors. "I wouldn't judge anyone based on how disabled they are," said Roberto, 11. "It's all about your personality and how you act toward others." Read the full story here.

Student & Parent Opportunities & Info   
Beginning TONIGHT: Want to become a U.S. citizen?  
Want to become a U.S. citizen? NUSD's Adult Education Department is offering a free evening class in U.S. Citizenship beginning Wednesday (Jan. 17) at Discovery High School.

Flexible scheduling is available, evenings between 5-8 p.m. Students must be permanent residents, ages 18 or older. Free child care will be available for kids ages 3 to 12. To register or for more information, click here
Check out our career training courses & pathways 
Engineering, health, broadcasting, digital arts, automotive technology, culinary arts & hospitality, business & entrepreneurship, visual arts & technology -- NUSD has a smorgasbord of Career Technical Education courses and pathways to complement an academic education. Why not prepare for both college AND career? Check out the options by clicking here.
Parent Portal: Track grades, attendance & other info 
The Infinite Campus Parent Portal is a great tool for parents to view their child's attendance, grades, and other important information. Parents also can update contact, mailing and other information.
Returning parents will continue to use the same username and password as last year. New parents will receive an email at the beginning of each week with a link that will lead them through steps to create an account, so please ensure that your school has your correct email address.

To learn more about the portal, visit our website here.
App and social media: Let's keep in touch, Natomas   
The start of a new calendar year is a great time to download NUSD's free app to check out lunch menus, campus news, bell schedules, job opportunities, parent workshops, and much more -- you can even monitor your child's grades, assignments, and attendance throughout the year via a parent portal link. To download from Apple's App Store, at no cost, click here.

Other ways to keep in touch with NUSD's day-to-day developments include liking our Facebook page -- Natomas Unified School District -- and  following us on Twitter (@NatomasUSD). We appreciate the chance to keep you informed of NUSD news, plans and accomplishments. We're honored to be your partner in preparing your child for college and career. 
Inderkum Tiger makes national news

Here's how the Sacramento Bee started its Page 1 story last Thursday about an Inderkum grad who is taking a break from his final year of medical school to obtain a master's degree in public policy from Harvard University:

 "Inderkum High School graduate Jirayut "New" Latthivongskorn was studying inside his Boston apartment late Tuesday night when he received unexpected news: He'd just won a major legal victory against President Donald Trump." Read the full story here.
Making our webpages more accessible to everyone  
Natomas Unified is committed to providing information through its website to all members of the public, including those with disabilities. We recently implemented design changes to make our webpages even more accessible.

Many of the changes may not be obvious to most readers, such as ensuring that display buttons contain alternative text that can be read by automated devices serving the visually impaired. 

We've also placed an "Accessibility Statement" link on the bottom of district webpages to specify our commitment, guidelines, and contact information. We will continue to review and improve our webpages to reach the widest possible audience. 

Meanwhile, if you experience any difficulty in using an NUSD webpage, please contact us at Thank you very much.
'50 Bikes for 50 Kids'
Honoring students for outstanding character
It's heartwarming to read about the character of local students chosen as winners recently in the "50 Bikes for 50 Kids" contest, which rewards youth for being respectful, responsible, caring, trustworthy, fair, or demonstrating good citizenship.

Winners included Lauryn Fitzhugh, a Natomas Park Elementary School 5th-grader, whose nomination said she is actively engaged in school activities, assists others, tries her best, volunteered at the school carnival, and is involved in a church youth program that collects clothing and food for people in need.

Another winner was Heron School's Maeve Mahony, a 6th-grader described in her nomination
as an outstanding student and citizen, a good listener, and someone with a big heart, who "cares about the environment and volunteers to sort recyclables at lunchtime." She created a Google slide presentation to teach classmates about recycling. "She has great ideas in solving problems and will make sure that all ideas from her classmates are heard, which shows a sense of fairness and respect."

Natomas Middle School's Nhu Duong, a 6th-grader, has A's in her classes, helps others with homework, and encourages classmates to be respectful and responsible. She was nominated by a teacher who called her "one of the most respectful children I've ever had the pleasure of teaching." Nhu's nomination added: "I've taught a lot of kids over the past 13 years, and I really haven't run into many students as driven and trustworthy as Nhu."

North Natomas youth in 5th through 12th grades were eligible for the contest, sponsored by the North Natomas Transportation Management Association. Volunteers helped contest winners assemble their bicycles on Monday, Jan. 15, a holiday celebrating the legacy of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King. For a complete list of contest winners, click here.
NUSD Spotlight
             Brought to you by:
             Jim Sanders
   Director of  Communications
             (916) 561-5267